Rahil

Category Archives for: Epistemology

Japan

30 November 2016

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Fuck Japan

Fuck Japan.

That’s all I got.

Fuck Japan.

Perhaps the reason I never thought to talk to others when I lived in suburban America, anyone nearby, as I did during much of my 20s [and perhaps childhood], is because I simply wasn’t interested in the others. Japan [Japanese culture] has altered my behavior to not be interested in other people. As I [just earlier] peered through the express train’s window as it was rushing me toward the airport, perhaps the first time I’ve taken an express transport whilst having time, I didn’t care what is inside those buildings, those giant apartment complexes, the curtained shops, or traditionally-achitected homes.

Fuck ’em.

And here’s why

And here’s why:

Japanese culture has these characteristics: exclusive, unwelcoming, stingy (mentality, monetarily, and urban design), unhospitable (no hospitality), extremely organized (/obessissively), cold (temperature and feeling), robotic (rule-based automoton behavior), unwilling and no desire to learn (beyond what was learned to survive in an individuals tiny social unit), ie (家, socially seperated into tiny social units, nepotism), instrumentally reasoned toward survival and comfort, and overall, inhospitable (uninhabitable)… [todo: add more charactersitics]

Much of it overlaps with (rich?) suburbia. The simple, I’m surviving (living), why do / learn anything else? Why care about what other people / cultures / minds think? It’s a classic social problem: closing of the mind, habituation.

[todo: give examples to all characteristics?]

more thoughts from right now (maybe overlaps with notes)

When a society develops, it develops materially too. It industrializes, organizes, constricting creativity and freedom. It organizes what you eat (taste), see, feel, and do. Japan has narrow taste in all aspects: food, design, fashion, textures, images, and so on. When one doesn’t fit what the local culture has organized the material to, then one has to go back, to raw materials, and create it, from scratch. Cook, design anew, make. I almosted needed to, to survive it. Perhaps that’s how cultural neighborhoods form in cities: a desire to make the material world according to one’s own taste shaped by past cultures.

/

One may wander, how such a narrow-minded society became rich? Robots are good at making (barely creative) products, and that’s a much wanted commidity for most of the world. Well-made cars, house appliances, farming equipment. Automate work needed for survival, automate the process to make the machines, then sell it. That’s the limit of Japan’s intelligence. It never quite gets to actually creating information, ideas, new ways to live, new ways to help others. The ultimate Japanese society is the present one: it already reached it’s end.

The small social unit idea works (is successful) for the same reason a specialized machine works: it is a machine, it was made to work.

/

A thought from earlier today:
Japanese people are not good at playing games; Games play them. They are good at abiding rules (being obedient), but not playing (in any sort of creative sense). They work within rulesets, similar to their small social units / knowledge / life. They can “play” a calculative arcade music rhythym or card or fighting “game”, but they will fail in any one that rewards creativity.

An older recurring thought:
Japanese society is exactly the one depicted in Wall-E. It really is that dystopian. People aren’t fat, but people do go from one place to another while watching a screen in their box cars, eat CalorieMate (a “nutritious” block of food), and consume addictive substances without the bad stuff (Coke zero, Strong zero, cigarettes with devices that remove the smell?, etc.).

notes from papers and text files written during the trip

ordered from past to present:

1

the Fablab charter is similar to my own: of allowing the public access to tools to enable people to make [almost] anything,– but making is such a small part [subset] of doing (performing, teaching, work, etc.).
.
at the lab I realize the reasons I made or did anything [in the past] was for poltiical [/personal] reasons: I wanted to alter the behavior of people {not true, there were many motives: bring awareness to society, or simply just to spend time with people whilst being productive – whatever productive may be in my mind during a time and place} . Making a sign {for the no vehicles in market areas idea} was just a small part of a solution to do so. That’s all it ever is {That’s all fablabs are able to do}. It’s not an end. It’s just an enabler for making stuff {, materially}.
.
Outside the lab {Fablab Dazaifu}, there is one large panchinko parlor and duplicate apartment complexes. Such a boring place! Only the lab is homey. Perhaps all indoor spaces are homey. But the problem is that most are exclusive.
.
I should try to make something at each space, but, as I said, I need a political / personal motivation.
– {I felt that being at a space would be no use without a reason / motive. A desire to do something for society is needed, then one goes to a space to work something out, but I had zero care for Japan’s society.}
.
[todo: to blog]
$Fab labs, like hotels contain great people, like [censored name]. People at service for others, for the community.
.
But the problem of fab labs, or most spaces, like departments at a school, is that they are narrow
– {mmm, thus, every space is too narrow, not enough diversity (of minds). That seems to be a recurring problem of mine. Whatever space I go to, it is a gathering of similar interests, as opposed to a set of random people. What kind of space has that?: A household? Shared living? Co-living spaces.
in ideology / culture / mind – they tend to make the same things (was thinking of things same things all fab labs make). The goal is to invite others to participate. It’s a good start. It’s still an open, public space, like a public garage.
– {hmm, that really is all it is. Make a garage public. Host events at home. Isn’t that how the internet was created?}
.
Still, I can’t live here – I am not motivated / living in Japan’s society.** I need a society that I love in order to make stuff for it** (Jiufen’s Spirited Away idea, urban interventions, etc.).
– {love reciprocation idea [todo: etch this out later]}
.
[todo: to blog]
In Japan, people do the work, they do what’s needed to survive the longest [and to maximize comfort]; In Taiwan, people care for the ideas, talk about it, but not worry much about the age they will die {, or doing things – implementing ideas.}
.
[todo: to blog]
$In Japan, people [only] care for their culture, only focus on their own narrow culture’s desires; In Taiwan, they’re open to other cultures and ideas – for aboriginals and foreign cultures – , thus they develop more unevenly, but accordingly for / to each culture – thus it is free, open.

Japan is singular. There is only Japanese culture; Everything else is “other”, rejected.

Laws exist. Social pressures are strong. It is difficult, unlawful, unfaithful, un-family-like to go against the grain.

Taiwan doesn’t care much for culture, other than langauge and ideas (including knowing their own social history). Thus, Taiwan is more ideal, but in reality may not seem so; Japan seems ideal, especially statistically, but in reality is dystopian.
– {It’s as if Japan designed their society and actually abide the design. There is no human element, no natural feelings to disrupt it.}
.
but comfort and long survival come at a cost of material commodities. Japan accumulates capital to build the most comfortable, convenient place. Taiwan does not care much for comfort – they care for just living on by doing whatever they’ve become habituated to do – craft, cook, all is okay to live such a lifestyle, even if it does not improve survival or comfort.
– {The cost of material commodities being human labor and the destruction of nature; It’s the difference between living in a shed in Taiwan and a fully-equiped apartment in a high rise in Japan.}
– {Though Taiwan doesn’t care much for comfort of the body, they’ve somehow created the most comforting, hospitable culture.}

2, 11/3/16

Japan is super-developed. Almost no nature {to be found}. Farms, well-planned, land intensely used. The world has been dominated. They win. Really get that Takahata theme felt. It seems (appears) that the mountains may sitill have natural areas {Maybe. Or maybe those trees were planted too.}. The farming villages next to mountains are beautiful {in a rustic aesthetic sense}, but completely planned out like Sim City. Capital is planned for. Efficient capital and work. No life. No experience.

Japan, well, Kyushu’s largest festival (Karatse Kunchi [Nagasaki Kunchi too?]) provides the only lively feeling in Japan. Steets closed, kids wander large areas and play. A ton of vendors sell food at stalls. Expensive now, but a glimpse of the past, less developed times – a diferent lifestyle, similar to present Taiwan, or other Southeast Asian markets. {Teenagers and men alike get drunk, equally unable to hold their liquor; A glimpse of the repressed hedonism.}

[todo: worded / recalled differently – X]
Japan’s society is ordered like ants; Taiwan’s allows freedom? Taiwanese people appear to be hippies compared to Japanese people!

Japan planned their economy and followed it obediently. | It worked for commodities (products) for the moment (period of time) in the past, but now, they lack the creativity to excel, which only exists with good, diverse, dense places and a culture that interacts and plays.

Japanese peoples’ bodies move robotically, following straight-forward structure and routine, but what about their minds? They act according to material – capital-rational, but their minds escape through childish images of characters, manga, anime, and digital worlds. It’s a utopia for the body – isn’t that the ideal? Keep the bodies comfortable, through convenience!; But minds keep working, don’t they? They act culturally-economically {group consensus or for capital), not making decisions creatively, or finding different ways to live, rather, following old ideas, and making them a concrete reality.

Taiwan communicates well, but Japan works well – obediently, robotically.

Japan’s work ethic is that of a lone tinkerer, working on ever smaller parts. Their society full of cogs / boxes, a larger one working on smaller ones.

split with Atsushi at Kagoshima harbor

Sleep / nap. feels for [censored name] still linger. Human contact? Atsushi [todo: check name] split, allows me to think beyond destined-travel. This country is too cold to do anything, or feel like doing it. Long daydream of being president, conversation with Jon Stewart, life as president, morals, social development, etc., stars freely go in and out, as do friends.

I need her [ambiguous her]… I just want to live.

Ideas over the past few days:

Sensory deprivation caused by cold and loss of sight via sleeping bag over head inside a tent beneath dreary weather.
– Also leads to depression, oversleep, etc. Just to maintain homeostasis.
– Less sun power to enhance sight.

$ Daydreams as conversation imagined – example: president / Jon Stewart day dream, wedding speeches, etc…. media-oriented, written-oriented can be generalized to sign-oriented – using signs as basis of rational decision-making. Look at nutrition facts, not the food (CaloriMate, coffee, cola zero, cigarettes, alcohol zero, etc.). Look at hitchhiker’s sign, not (not understanding) the thumb. Look at maps, not reality. Look at the phone, not reality. Design on canvases, not {on} reality.
|
Japan designed an efficient society devoid of life.
$ – The material of Japan is designed / developed. So it feels ideal / others ways of life are impossible; though it is just of the mind.
|{?}
[next idea / argument]
Japanese culture is rational through signs, therefore:
$ * It rationalizes toward capitalism, survival, and comfort (when under capitalism).
$ * Money-actions are not creative: it is not creative to buy something, there is an infinite amount of things to do {/ one can do}, and it all starts with communication ({ideas, talking, }games, play too!).

Japan makes me feel capitalistic-rational, ad opposed to communicative-creative, free-rational (of Taiwan).
|
Creativity (communication, education, ideas, information, etc.) pays. Commodities (form, manufacture) really is old money.

Japan is stuck in the 80s / 90s in development, material, social, fashion, ethic, culture, politics, etc.
– They wear business suits without reason, uniforms, work without reason, all old ideas, no thought, only manufacture.

Japan is completely developed. Farms mechanized. People fit to property.

$ Property fixed, deemed (/ pedestaled) by culture [cool argument]; Leads to a fixed society in time and space.
– {Because the culture is so private and exclusive, those with property seem keep and / or gain wealth even more easily: coin laundries, restaurants, hotels, etc. There are probably too many laws and policies for people to start their own businesses to compete, and, furthermore, is probably not even thought of due to cultural reasoning. Since all material on the property is designed by some collective consensus, there is little change to the material world. No gentrification, but no creativity for capitalism either. Just creating capital for survival, not experiences.}

$ Although Taiwan is less developed materially, social organizations [maybe not needed?], healthcare, etc., it is more developed in the mind. It skipped commodity-capital-rational that post-war Japan and Korea had, instead, it relies on service (time spent together: tourism), information, education – because social development is more important than material organization.

Japan’s (culture) repression crosses to sex (porn), drugs (cigarettes and coffee), and probably hard drugs and prostitution. These are used out of addiction / need, not fun / social as in America. They are used to replace social activity – to ease the mind, perhaps to artificially move some brain cells (inhibitors, etc.).

Fukuokan women spent time and money on beauty. Beautiful {in appearance} through daily work. {Ugly in ethical make-up.}

Only [censored name], [censored name], and maybe [censored name] seem normal {to me}.

Mostly mothers with children hitched? me a ride. They care. Have time. Not super work-oriented. Move at the speed of life. In time with life. They care for those that feel cold as they do their children. They are human [something here?], unlike their cold male counter-parts. The male drivers know nothing apart from their specific jobs, barely able to drive, and completely unaware of their surroundings, no care for proximal society {, or even other people}.

Perhaps all of socio-cultural Japan occurs though the internet via written language – jobs, sex, talk, etc. Nothing is physical-oral. And I am only looking at and listening to the physical-oral reality, not caring for written language, therefore it may be impossible for me to understand their mind, decision-making, thought, ideology, education, etc.
– {I was unwilling to read. That’s too boring. Too unsocial.}

Manga / drawing as a way of communicating, because they live so much less, that they must use {simplified} images to convey {a} reality instead of words. They are out of tune with reality [reverses an old thought].

[$ todo: give up rural?]
Creativity / Osaka maybe the way out of this decades old society [/ culture].

Japan is only good as industrial machines – to manufacture / design a working product for comfort, longevity – traits [end goals] of Japanese society.

[The end for now. Look for farms. Then go to Osaka.]

at gas station waiting for hitch to Kumamoto

People who have time, and/or are more human pick me up: elderly (retired?), women (old and young. I feel the young ones often appear to look at my face to see if I am a female), young people (though maybe less have cars, using public transport instead). People who have cars are the suburban capitalists.
|
$ Suburban capitalists destroy the world without awareness (knowing). They were born into via place, time (, nearby culture), in capitalistic country, accumulate capital, waste the world in the process. The countries with wealth organized themselves to be better at gaining capital, but missed on human values (including value for nature).

To wait is to waste life. Suburban capitalists wait, city-goers create {keep creating}.

Japanese cars are shaped like Japanese houses, and the Japanese social structure: boxes, of various sizes, compounded together.

[idea:]
\[$\] Tools for anti-alienation (/ altering human-values / altering human behavior)
$$$ – tool / app for mothers to list / sell cooked food (servings left, cost, ingredients cost, etc.), unused ingredients, minimize food waste, increase human interaction, remove organized food (chain restaurants, {industrialized food products at super markets}, etc.).

By developing, Japan has organized their country to a few food items: ramen, sushi, fried food, etc. It over-uses those ingredients, because capitalism and property has created chain restaurants, super-market industrialized products, vending machines. Developing countries have a better food industry because the ingredients (raw food) has not been industrialized / organized. That explains my love for vegetable markets in Chinatowns {in American cities, Southeast Asia}, and Taiwan: you eat the raw food – no work in-between necessary. Food should not be organized. Eat what your country you live in grows.

another session, perhaps at the coin laundry store near the park

Sleepy, after afternoon nap, woke up at 5pm, feeling it a waste to hitchhike at night, missing the scenic beauty of Japan, but, perhaps worth it for the random experience. Cities and highways are boring anyway: repetitive suburbs, yet, I must see for myself – never know. Perhaps need to travel via Google Maps more. Maybe needed a day’s rest after that long bike ride. Fuck it. Let’s go. Nothing to do here, or at least it feels… Hmmm… can at least hitch out of Kyushu, perhaps Yamaguchi.

travel tips:
Kid’s playgrounds are attached to neighborhood parks and usually have bathrooms. 24-hour coin laundry shops can be found nearby, providing warmth, and maybe even an electrical socket or television.

Only with a bicycle (that I stole for a day) was I able to reach farms, land, non-concrete, with shrines and traditional, old houses that emanated an Yilan feel, cheap / fresh vegetables and ingredients too! {Finally a livable place.}

Hitching local roads at night (11pm–3am, until 8am) was near impossible, {perhaps especially} as a male, dark, non-Japanese. SAs / PAs vary from large sleepy truck stops to a tiny strip mall where few vehicles stop at, trapping hitchhikers on a highway island.

There is no interaction that occurs outside, aside form parks / playgrounds – that is all the “nature” people get in this super-developed world.

The mountains of Japan seem untouched, beautiful nature. Perhaps it is the best place to live?

The rural areas too are developed, unlike Taiwan’s tiny farms, there are large apartment complexes nearby, large greenhouses and farmland bunched together so that people cannot walk through, blocking human interaction / access to nature [for efficiency,] via urban planning. Farms need walkways (dirt!) through them.

Japan is the death of society / Societal death. Society has lots it’s life and exchanging it for longevity, comfort, convenience, health, safety.

It requires non-decision-making {non-thinking} robots to live in Japan (and the suburbs).

All real Japanese films take place at the house because nothing occurs outside of it. Miyazaki and Takohata are the saviors of this drab society, mindlessly destroying itself {yet, their own lives contradict the ones they depict in their films – they are not living on farms, they are sitting in studios in Tokyo etching out more animated films. At least, Miyazaki is.} Keichi shows the drab suburban reality best, with actual modernity as its setting – pachinko parlors, supermarkets, road, and only media {ex. history of trams} as a savior [escape] from it.

[probably written after glancing at a few manga books:]
Manga is still terrible. Narrow. More narrow than Hollywood films… I decided that in 6th grade {thinking of anime on Toonami on Cartoon Network}.

[todo: perhaps written twice]
A nurse said there is no need to learn English. It shows how insular Japanese culture is, and how uncaring for other societies and minds they are. | They are the American suburbs. | They were born into it, organized their lives {and their surroundings} according to it, and know nothing outside of it. A nurse! Does the nurse not care for how nurses act in other societies? Read their biographies?

80s / 90’s fashion in Japan in 2016 is funny. Levis jeans. High heels. Striped shirts. lol. Back to school sale?

– [break]

Maybe Japanese culture is OCD (about organization, cleanliness, health, etc.); It can’t handle disorder, nature, it must conquer it. Taiwan can handle messiness, more broader information via reality – they process information in the present; Japan relies on past, planned information – schedules, {designs}, etc.

Many lonely pangs. Dreams of any girl I’ve met recently – gold digging, gigalo, lots of sex. Japan is socially repressed, so I feel (socially and sexually) repressed too. Manga are probably the daydream and wet dreams of the society.

Lots of thoughts on food industry – and how it affects everything – farms, distribution, transport to supermarket, $ limited organization of food to fit culture, etc. It is vastly better to not organize food into meals – that’s a cultural problem.

I mentioned concrete. “Concrete jungle” should be applied to Japan and South Korea, perhaps moreso than tiny Hong Kong, because these jungles are much larger…

… the ’burbs have taken over all land. Earthquakes and vlocanic eruptions fight through concrete, but the car and road system is constantly repaired ot maintain order {human order, homeostasis of human order}. Here, it is easy to see the nature vs artificial themes of Miyazaki and Takahata films.

Perhaps the society communicated digitally, a digital social world. Nothing much occurs in reality; – How boring! Perhaps they create JRPGs to escape the boring reality of suburbia. They generate in-game capital as opposed to real capital. They don’t understand that they could live in a different way, as they live it through JRPGs / MMORPGs.

Drab.

I want to fuck and get money, like an animal, several times. Gold-dig. Just be a house-husband. That’s all. Take care of her, {her} body and mind, to allow her to efficiently do her work. Surely I can just use some kind of dating site for this? Or try living in a city. Osaka? Taipei? New York?

– [mini-break]
Japan’s social structure (ie) creates a very voyeuristic culture. They peer from within their cars, houses, {to the outside}, and into other’s cars, houses. | They don’t interact verbally, instead, they just look, judge, from appearance, and continue their programmed routine; making them shallow, as they don’t judge by mind.

– [mini-break]
I thought by coming to Japan, I would get to experience a culture that acts more upon reality, physicality. I got it. I just didn’t know that that kind of non-verbal-language-orientation would be so cold. I thought that much could be communicated through reality, actions. But they don’t {even} act! Perhaps, it is because I am not acitng. I need to be aggressive, or at least, just less passive then them. I need to {my normal} outgoing talkative {self}. But I don’t speak their language, nor care much for it. Hmm… I just have to be with them, next to them. No need for intense philosophical conversation, or travel questions. But they’re so {fucking} boring! At least, outside they are. Maybe inside, they are like [censored name] {act differently with people outside and within social relations}…Yeah, I just need to get active again, somehow, despite how being broke excludes me from most places. I need active people. I haven’t met a person similar to an active Taiwanese, or foreign traveler yet. Japan is so dead.

– [TV break]

Japanese people spend their life indoors, and by habit, have made the world feeel merely concrete to indoor places

internet readings

some random reading via Google, all read after the trip. Nothing deep or lengthy.

highlights from internet readings

some thing by Columbia

ROLES IN THE FAMILY

The fact that Japanese fathers in contemporary urban households spend so much time at work, and the company demands on them are so great, means that they often really have very little time or energy to spend with their children, and so not only does the responsibility for raising children, overseeing the education, fall onto the mothers, but fathers themselves are absent, removed, from the children’s lives.
– true. Only the mothers seemed human, and therefore picked me up as I hitchhiked.

COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY EDUCATION
One of the really interesting paradoxes about Japanese education is that you have a very rigorous, very intense educational system up to getting into college, and these very difficult entrance exams. And once students get into college, oftentimes people joke that college is the four-year vacation in a long and hard educational life. Once you’ve made it into college, you’ve made it to wherever you’re going to get educationally.
– true for Taiwan too, and probably much of Asia. It seems to be the problem of entering an exclusive social group. It’s ugly; They’re ugly.

GROUPS: INSIDE/OUTSIDE
Another important aspect of the way in which social relationships are structured in sort of the day-to-day interactions of people in Japan, is a strong consciousness of in-group versus outside-the-group boundaries. And this gets expressed in all kinds of settings.

Students are very conscious of the school they go to and the class within the school that they’re part of, and that forms sort of a shell, a social shell, that people who are within the shell are expected to interact with one another rather informally and rather intensely, and interact with people outside that shell, or outside that boundary, in a more formal, more distant, perhaps more hierarchical way.

So at schools, in families, there’s a clear distinction between who’s a member of a family and who’s not; in communities, there are clear distinctions between people who belong to the community and people who are outsiders; in companies, a very clear sense of division; in political parties; even in ethnic relations, relationships for example between Japanese and Koreans who live in Japan, the sense of insider versus outsider status.

THE IE AND GROUPS
It’s very difficult to say exactly why Japanese social relations take the form they do. Why are social relations hierarchical, or why is there a strong emphasis on in-group versus outside-the-group interactions? You couldn’t necessarily come up with an historical reason for this, but certainly there are parallels to other sets of social institutions. If you look at the traditional family structure, for example, the so-called ie, as it’s known in Japanese, it is a kind of a family, a kind of a kinship organization which puts a great premium on understanding hierarchy and rank, that every member of a traditional family stands in a very complicated set of relationships with every other member, but they can all be ranked in some kind of a hierarchical form.

So, for example, the eldest son occupies a social role that is quite distinct from a second or a third or a fourth son. The eldest daughter occupies a rank and position that is quite distinct from younger daughters. Certainly fathers and mothers occupy different ranks from their children and so forth. So, it’s a very hierarchically structured social unit, and some people would argue that that’s sort of a template for understanding why hierarchy is such an important part of Japanese social relationships.

In another sense, the fact that the traditional Japanese family system puts this great emphasis on defining sharply the boundaries between people who are members of the extended family and people who are going to have to leave — that is to say people who are going to become non-members in the future — is a social template for this emphasis on in-group, inside-the-boundary membership versus relationships outside or across a boundary to people who are not part of that social group.

CONSENSUS
Consensus is a well known part of Japanese social relationships. It seems, to an outsider at least, as if everything in Japan is decided by this sense of harmony and this sense that everybody has to agree. And there are all kinds of trivial examples that you can come up with, like if you watch a group of Japanese businessmen sitting down for lunch, it’s likely that everybody around the table will order more or less the same dish, and people point to that and say: “A-ha! this is a harmonious society; everything has to be equal.”

And indeed, Japanese talk a lot about how to preserve this sense of equality. One of the ways in which they do this is by making sure that any decision that affects a group as a whole is at least going to be circulated around and discussed amongst all its members. So indeed, Japanese organizations do often appear to have a much higher degree of consensus about policies, about aims, about aspirations, than would be true in an equivalent American group.

On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that Japanese inherently agree with one another, or that there isn’t conflict in society, but rather that conflict is managed within the group, and conflict is negotiated against other demands of personal interaction, personal social relationships. And eventually the goal is to, through conflict and through very carefully managed conflict, to come up with some kind of unified position that everybody can agree with.

from Wikipedia article for Nihonjinron:

Japanese social structures consistently remould human associations in terms of an archaic family or household model (家 ie?) characterized by vertical relations (縦社会 tate-shakai?), clan (氏 uji?), and (foster-)parent-child patterns (親分・子分 oyabun, kobun?). As a result, the individual (個人 kojin?) cannot properly exist, since groupism (集団主義 shūdan-shugi?) will always prevail.

further reading:

Social Concepts in Japan powerpoint by Keio, maybe for new foriegn students

book review of Japanese Society by Chie Nakane

It is advantageous for a man to remain in the group in which he starts his career and move up step by step in the course of time. It is very difficult for him to move from one group to another, because he can rarely succeed in breaking any of the vertical links already established between individuals in the other group.

Japanese organizations regularly suffer from what they call “sectionalism”

There are no successful functional groups built on a coalition or federation of subgroups.

Leave a comment | Categories: Action, Anthropology, Area, Art, Determinism and Free Will, Epistemology, Ethics, Experience, Experience, Humanities, Japan, Metaphysics, Personal, Philosophy, Political Economy, Political Philosophy, Rationalism, Rationality, Social Philosophy, Thoughts, Travel

Book-shops and Learning

26 June 2016

[aka Re-visiting the Eslite Book-store]

Back to the place I began reading, for a day, before I leave Taipei, and leave reading again.

I now see why this book-store was so conducive before: the selection is amazing. A normal, rather large library in itself is of almost no organizational use. It’s good for the purpose of research, as it can provide written source sources, but that’s it. It doesn’t offer a general education in any way. It’s a mess of information, like the Internet, except more out-dated and disorganized (physical organization hits it’s limit compared to searchable digital organization). The book-store, though sufficiently large for any human, just provides a a few shelves for world history or Western philosophy. The selection top notch: top publishers, highly regarded, highly readable, organizations of knowledge: A Little History of the World, Sapiens, What is Cultural History?, Social Class in the 21st Century (Pelican) – that’s what I’ve got next to me at the moment.

This kind of organization, a well-selected library is quite a different experience from Wikipedia too. Wikipedia doesn’t organize information in the way that people can. People can organize the same information into infinite ways and mediums. For Wikipedia, though not restricted, the format is quite standard. If I look at the history of the world article, it’s likely chronologically and spatially ordered somewhat, leading to separate histories of each country. The small topics chosen by Harari in Sapiens to describe the history of the world through ideas like science and empire of the industrial-research-technology complex just doesn’t fit Wikipedia’s format. The mapping of knowledge, the gaining of wisdom, seems entirely dependent on the way information is organized. That is, after all, what artists do: manipulate information (via material [non-digital and digital]).

This better explains my first experience with books here. I found the Western Philosophy section and the readings must have organized my mind because the selection was so damn good. I [can only] imagine few people [in the world] that [may have] began reading with Bacon, Montaigne, Wittgenstein, Russell, in that order. Perhaps western philosophy initially lead me in the wrong directions; it being merely an intellectual history, but it was a start.

Now, I feel I can peruse the entire library, though I still choose to stick to culture (cultural theory and maybe cultural history) and those finer gems: highly readable, uniquely organized writings. But I don’t feel there’s much use. [Written] Organization is for the weak. Its detail will always be lossy and of low-quality. It’s best to stay skeptic: all written history is false and all philosophy is bullshit. Now, with only a map, go out and consume and alter the world!

Leave a comment | Categories: Applied Philosophy, Art, Communication, Epistemology, Experience, Humanities, Literature, Media, Philosophy, Philosophy of Education, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Literature, Uncategorized

Action, Attention, and Space

19 June 2016

[related posts: The Ideal Work]

[todo: written without editing]

During active times I think about what I can do within the time and space. But what varies in a large amount, depending on the state of mind, is what can be done (in my mind) and can’t, or more precisely, what is not thought of.

What can or cannot be done is a matter of mind. Anything can be done. But the mind creates rules, through state (laws), culture (customs), peers (pressure), and self (ethics). Depending on the state of mind, the rules of mind may change, and therefore, possible actions change.

For example, if I want to talk about neighborhood problems, during a more active time, I may just begin asking neighbors, any one in the neighborhood, anyone near me. During a less active time, I’m more likely to find some kind of social organization to talk to.

If I want to talk about anything, I am able to talk to anyone nearby about it, similar to how Boar is able to talk to anyone about her personal problems, including the apartment receptionist / security.

Another example, if I want to go to another town and its late, during a more active time, I would try going (catch transport, hitchhike), if something stops me, I’ll physically stop there. During a less active time, I’d probably plan where to eat and sleep. My problem is that I rarely am able to follow plans: schedules, times, etc, so the former works better for me, feels more progressive, and is a more active life.

Physical needs (food, toilet, air conditioner, floor to sleep on) should not be prioritized, yet, they cannot be ignored.

As thought and action separate, level of activity decreases, until a vegetable thinking state is reached.

Another example, if I want to run an event or some kind of activity, I may just run in on the street, or a nearby venue [this is a good epistemological pro of the city]. If I were less active, then I’d over-plan it and never do it.

Another example, if I want to create something with material, I’d ask people nearby for the material. If less active, I would use the Internet (, and that’s how use of Internet for research begins). Though, getting the material or service within the city is prioritized.

Another example, if I want to do something, I’d ask people nearby if they want to do it, join, or, if it exists, join an event or group or space. In a less active mode, I wouldn’t do it. It would remain a thought. Or, I’d have to do it alone. This is why a city works, for me. I just have to ask people nearby. The barrier of communicating an invitation is lowered, because they [people] are nearby. There is no need to create an event, make a big deal, plan a time, etc. One simply goes out, talks, and does things. It’s natural.

The distance between thought and action decreases as the [distance between humans](todo: link to post) decreases.

Communication is an action. It increases as distance decreases. Dense-living peoples communicate orally. Sparse-living peoples communicate through mediums.

Another example, if I want to call but don’t have any charge for my phone’s battery, during a more active time, I would simply ask people nearby if I can use their phone. During a less active time, I may search a place to charge my phone.

Being active seems to include being more social, perhaps because social actions often can increase the speed of actions.

I could feel the difference in state of minds when I slowed down. Before the city, I’d think about everything that made up a single shop, material, history, people in it, their minds, how the systems allowed the creation of it. A single shop was enough of an interest. A mind is interesting enough. It was worth talking to the people in it. But now in a city, I pass by so many. I can’t talk to them all, make sense of them all; how they came to be, and so on. It’s too much. Yet, it seems wrong to just pass by. Every shop has a life in it; How can one easily pass by so many shops? There is so much life to live by communicating with every shop. But why must I skip it? Why can’t I spend my time here, in this geolocation, and communicate? Why move on? I just want to sit and talk.

It just didn’t make sense to move through a city. I don’t even like moving, unless some vehicle is moving me, because it requires a piece of my brain, and that means less communicating.

To walk through a campus like NTU or CHKU seemed impossible. Biking through, also a huge waste of time. The denser city was so much more efficient. There were people I could communicate to within such a short distance. Old schools are built like large government building areas, absolutely beuracratic and departmentalized. The city was infinitely more conducive to communication than the school. The school required others to transport with, or, use of digital communication.

Only walkable human environments are ideal. In such places, the mind is freely able to communicate without being restricted by transportation and urban planning.

If within a space a person receives a call and says “hold on, I’ll call back once I’m in a quieter area”, than that space fails to be communicable, and is dentrimental to the social well-being. To be well, one must maximize time within communicable spaces. Time spent outside those spaces is isolating.

Digital communication alleviates spatial problems, tremendously. One can feel socially well in the worst environments as long as one has their digital communication application.

[todo: can continue]

Leave a comment | Categories: Epistemology, Humanities, Personal, Philosophy, Social Philosophy, Thoughts

Positive and Negative methodologies

17 April 2016

Just some highlights and thoughts from the last chapter of A Short History of Chinese Philosophy by Fung Yu-Lan, edited by Derk Bodde. After reading a few books, it led to this thought.

28. Chinese Philosophy in the Modern World (last chapter)
end (the methodology of metaphysics):

“I maintain that there are two methods, the positive and the negative. The essence of the positive method is to talk about the object of metaphysics which is the subject of its inquiry; the essence of the negative method is not to talk about it. By so doing, the negative method reveals certain aspects of the nature of that something, namely those aspects that are not susceptible to positive description and analysis.”

“…the West started with what he [Northrop] calls the concept of postulation, whereas the Chinese philosophy started with what he calls concept by intuition. As a result, Western philosophy has naturally been dominated by the positive method, and Chinese philosophy by the negative one. This is espeically true of Taoism, which started and ended with the undifferentiable whole. In the Laozi and Zhuangzi, one does not learn what the Tao actually is, but only what it is not. But if one knows what it is not, one gets some idea of what it is.”

– sounds like a research programme by Lakatos, which is from 1976!

“…Ch’anism, which I would like to call a philosophy of silence. If one understands and realizes the meaning and significance of silence, one gains something of the object of metaphysics.”

– perhaps there’s something he’s getting at here, that Chinese Philosophy tries to focus on actuality, not language. Where western philosophy focused on creating ideas in the form of words, and even later, a terrible linguistic turn, Chinese philosophy maintains a better perception of reality, but simply cannot communicate much about it, at least, not through written language.

“In the West, Kant may be have said to use the negative method of metaphysics…he found the unknowable, the noumenon. To Kant and other Western philosophers, because the unknowable is unknowable, one can therefore say nothing about it, and so it is better to abandon metaphysics entirely and stop at epistemology. But to those who are accustomed to the negative method, it is taken for granted that, since the unknowable is unknowable , we should say nothing about it. t和business of metaphysics is not to say something about the unknowable, but only to say something about the fact that the unknowable is unknowable. When one knows that the unknowable is unknowable, one does know, after all, something about it. On this point, Kant did a great deal.”

”…A perfect metaphysical system should start with the positive method and end with the negative one. If it does not end with a negative method, it fails to reach the final climax of philosophy (~earlier he mentioned how Western philosophers usually use words like Good, God, Love denoting the end of their philosophy and the beginning of their metaphysics). But if it does not start with the positive method, it lacks clear thinking that is essential for philosophy.“

– isn’t this Hegel’s triad idea?

[Ch’an [Zen?] story of thumb being cut off and enlightened is referenced.] ”Whether this story is true or not, it suggest that the truth that before the negative method is used, the philosopher or student of philosophy must pass through the positive method, and before the simplicity of philosophy is reached, he must pass through its complexity.“

– perhaps what is meant is teaching should not involve any positive direction, people should arrive at it on their own. Do not en-culture or indoctrinate students.

“One must speak very much before one keeps silent.”

– similar to “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” by Wittgenstein

Leave a comment | Categories: Eastern Philosophy, Epistemology, Humanities, Metaphysics, Philosophy

On Humanism

17 December 2015

This began as a digression from The Categorization of Knowledge. It’s also relevant to recent posts about rationality, especially the anti-humanism Wikipedia article, which includes content from past philosophical movements related to humanism.

Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over unthinking acceptance of dogma or superstition. The meaning of the term humanism has fluctuated according to the successive intellectual movements which have identified with it. Generally, however, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of human freedom and progress.
Wikipedia, Humanism

It seems difficult to define humanism. From my skimming of the Wikipedia article, humanism seems to be optimistic of human progress, of the ability to gain knowledge about humans, and, notoriously, of the ability to “collectively” guide humans toward progress.

From the belief in a universal moral core of humanity it followed that all persons are inherently free and equal. For liberal humanists such as Kant, the universal law of reason was a guide towards total emancipation from any kind of tyranny.

Nietzsche argues in Genealogy of Morals that human rights exist as a means for the weak to constrain the strong; as such, they do not facilitate the emancipation of life, but instead deny it.

Marx believed human rights were a product of the very dehumanization they were intended to oppose.

Foucault challenged the foundational aspects of Enlightenment humanism, as well as their strategic implications, arguing that they either produced counter-emancipatory results directly, or matched increased “freedom” with increased and disciplinary normalization.

His anti-humanist skepticism extended to attempts to ground theory in human feeling, as much as in human reason, maintaining that both were historically contingent constructs, rather than the universals humanism maintained.
Wikipedia, Anti-humanism

Postmodern critics who are self-described anti-humanists…have asserted that humanism posits an overarching and excessively abstract notion of humanity or universal human nature, which can then be used as a pretext for imperialism and domination of those deemed somehow less than human.
Wikipedia, Humanism, polemics section

The main problem of humanism seems to be that in order to achieve “human freedom and progress”, it motivates people to ascribe the method of creating “universal laws”, the basis of politics, which impede freedom, and therefore, impedes progress for those who’s freedom is impeded.

It seems that anti-humanists are anarchists. Is there another method to achieve freedom and progress without creating rules (laws, policies, etc.)? An ideology. There is no need for laws or policies; An ideology is enough. It is society’s norms. Individuals are free, just pressured by the majority of society. Anarchic individuals and the majority can live their own ways. The problem is when anarchists are unable to live within the ideology.

That’s the problem (!!!). How can an anarchist live, for example, in any capitalistic country, where one must obtain currency in order to exchange for basic goods (rent, food, health)? Well, I think one almost always has the option to go into the wild and live off of nature, but that’s an extreme degree; Not all anarchists self-sufficient farmers or hunter-gatherers. Instead of thinking about an individual, the question should be reframed from the point of an anarchic community. How can an anarchist community live within the ideology?

Again, using capitalism as an example of ideology, they can probably horde together some food and housing, but health is still part of the public sector, and rent still exists. These can be somewhat relieved by living further from a city, or in a cheap district of a city (likely a slum), but that brings another problem: cities offer more human development potential, but anarchists are unable to live there because the cost of rent is high.

Well, that’s a problem of capitalism. And I’ve digressed into anti-capitalism again. I should continue this thought within non-capitalism ideologies [todo]. Ah well. That’s that.

Leave a comment | Categories: Community, Empericism, Epistemology, Ethics, Humanities, Philosophical Movements, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Rationalism, Rationality, Social Anarchism, Social Philosophy

The Distance between Communication and Reality

10 December 2015

This is part of a series of thoughts that are thematically bounded by a criticism of capitalism, communication, and rationality.

Some thoughts from this morning, which seem to be a continuation of Why did I read?, probably because I’m physically leaving this abode I’ve been dwelling in far too long.

The thoughts:
1. The amount of sense data gathered from real experiences is infinitely larger than those gathered from communication.
2. Therefore, it is impossible to communicate at the level that reality communicates.
3. I may have began reading because I wanted to talk, but in the act of talking, it seems much of the content was lost.
[todo: maybe missing some thoughts]

Thought 1:
1. The amount of sense data gathered from real experiences is infinitely larger than those gathered from communication.
2. Because of that I have always prioritized experience above communication.
[todo: could continue this thought]

Thought 2:
1. It is impossible to communicate at the level that reality communicates.
2. Because of that, it is not a good idea to communicate isolated from reality, especially for a long period of time, in which memory can fade and awareness may likely focus on communication (often distorted) in the form of media as opposed to reality (direct cinema, observational cinema, and cinema verite may be exceptions).
2.1. The distance between communication and reality is a reoccurring problem in decision-making: academia vs city, quantitative vs qualitative, instrumental rationality vs substantial rationality.
3. Because of that (2), one must learn to balance real experiences (reality) and communication, though submitting to the fact that their communication will always be distorted.
3.1 But is communication (perhaps an emphasis on media rather than everyday conversation) even needed (this was perhaps what I going to argue against in Communication and Rationality)? Beyond hard sciences, should one believe anything that is communicated (may have some post about skepticism)?
4. As the distance between communication and reality increases, the amount of distortion in communication increases.
5. In order to maintain a less distorted reality, one must maximize the amount of social time of having an experience.
5.1. In order to achieve a clearer communication, one must limit the communication to recent experiences.
5.2 These also work in the other direction. In order to picture reality while receiving communication, one must have more experience with reality.
[todo: could continue this thought]

Thought 3:
This thought has been moved to Why I Did What I Did.

Leave a comment | Categories: Communication, Critical Theory, Epistemology, Human Geography, Humanities, Personal, Philosophy, Philosophy of Social Science, Rationality, Self-assessment, Thoughts

Awareness and Communication

05 December 2015

This is part of a series of thoughts that are thematically bounded by a criticism of capitalism, communication, and rationality.

1. The mind has a bias toward what to be aware of.

2. The mind has a bias toward which medium of communication to be aware of. If has been talking recently, then the sense of hearing speech is more aware. If one has been recently reading, then text is more apparent. If one has been watching films, then visuals are more apparent. If one has been traveling, then one is aware of everything, and must actively choose what to be aware of.

3. Because the mind has a bias toward which medium to be aware of, one’s mind may tend to organize communication into that medium. If one has been talking, one may feel like talking. If one has been reading, one may feel like writing. If one has been watching films, one may want to create more visual-oriented films. If one has been traveling, then one may choose a medium or create a medium to communicate in.

Possibly related older post: Working Memory and Creativity.

Leave a comment | Categories: Aesthetics, Communication, Epistemology, Experience, Humanities, Media, Mind and Matter, Philosophy

Why Did I Read?

02 December 2015

This is part of a series of thoughts that are thematically bounded by a criticism of capitalism, communication, and rationality.

[todo: old title: why I read, and how and when to read]

[todo: needs work]

The reason I began reading is because I wanted to talk about things that I experience in the world, from epistemology to the culture I’ve lived in and back. I’m not sure if describing it adds to understanding or merely transforming ideas into language, and therefore quite a waste of time as one could be experiencing and learning and acting instead, or even transforming ideas into a more potent medium.

In the process of describing the world, I use Wikipedia and other forms of modern media to gather ideas. Because of this, books of my interest tend to be theoretical. They provide words, ideas, and frameworks to help me continue to talk to myself in order to continue thinking about the world. It’s not a matter of truth. These things just serve as tool for organizing the big picture. Though, this too may be a waste of time, as it’s much more efficient to simply make up words for ideas that one thinks of. And the existence of common words create a bias of what one thinks about, as the mind focuses on the language, instead of reality and the infinite amount of ideas behind reality. And again, I run into the limits of language. Isn’t it better to skip language formation and simply act? But then one often needs to communicate to others for socio-political reasons. Hrmm… I miss playing games. [todo: should continue this thought]

To to get the most out of media one must match it to one’s current desire of knowledge and/or current experiences, as to aid one’s own understand and creation of theories. In my case: Jane Jacobs would be helpful in trying to improve a neighborhood, and would be good to read while living in a city. David Harvey would be helpful in trying to understand capital in modern times, and would be good to read while living in a capitalistic society. Anthropology is helpful to look at many societies at all levels of development to see what works and where society screwed up, and would be best to read while traveling, or living in another society. Daniel Kahneman is helpful in understand the decisions people make, and should be read when is trying to influence behavior. Practical handbooks is helpful for things one may want to do very soon, and should be read close in time. And so on.

The desire for socio-political change may take creative forms, which simply depends on the past and current things in the mind. In the case of design, city experience — visual, traveling, talking, living — is far more useful than books.

Another reason to read is for the subjective experience of others. I usually don’t enjoy getting experience this way and prefer simply talking to others, or watching a film, but that may be a fault of mine, as anything could be in another’s mind. It is however interesting in the form of factual biographies, so that I can try to rationalize the subject’s actions, especially a more romantic, nomadic person’s life.

Yet another reason is to read is to gain knowledge (does it count as experience?) in the form of facts from newspapers, or better, primary sources, to understand the world through the medium of language i.e. the life of Noam Chomsky. I never read newspapers, for the same reason, I prefer city, travel, and creative experiences: they provide infinitely more data and hopefully knowledge.

Just another thought on this: A reason not to read is that it puts human language into working memory, as opposed to the infinite data of the working memory of experiences. One can experience a city in a day and have a better understanding of it than an infinite amount of books could provide. Focusing on language limits creativity to language. Instead of thinking in terms of space, time, material, and social life, one is reduced to thinking about language, and not thinking about the infinite data behind the language. One must continually experience as much life as possible to understand another’s communication to a greater extent in order to reap the benefits.

from thoughts:

to theorize reality, use Limits to Capital, Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander. – a thought from that time I was in Taipei for three months

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Communication, Epistemology, Humanities, Literature, Media, Mind and Matter, Philosophy, Philosophy of Literature

The Speed of Ideas

15 August 2015

I believe this was thought around the time of writing my first post when I went home after my long travels, which was in the form of an illustration because I felt no reason to write as the time to took to record an idea and the speed it conveyed it was so much slower than reality. The following posts were MS Paint quality illustrations of new media ideas, and even that, I felt, was too slow, or not worthwhile, as opposed to executing an idea to reality. Though, in retrospect, the illustrations were quite efficient, in both ways: recording and conveying.

Update 9/3/15:
Hmm, seems to rehash old ideas: Information, Media, and EducationInformation Organization, Mediums, Creativity, and ExperienceThe Obsolescence of Literature and the Future of Education.

~9/17/14:

I never liked books, and in the digital age, it’s rare one ever needs to resort to one.

I think the reason, in addition it simply being slow at displaying information, is that is it slow at conveying ideas [or perhaps I’m dyslexic?].

Poetry is a step up [I thought of Calvino’s Invisible Cities]. Within a few words, new settings and new ideas form. Though, it requires substantial experience for merely a few words to convey an idea.

Other media is a bit more difficult to compare, because there’s far more experience to it.

8/25/15:

Films are an experience. There’s infinite information to take in, nearing reality. Whereas reading a Wikipedia is not an experience, assuming one has read an article in the past.

Yet, films (or any other media) can be a learning experience, in which several ideas can be derived from it. During my film-heavy education, I would watch a film, sit, think, read a bunch of Wikipedia articles, maybe see what Ebert says, and write in my thoughts file. Nowadays, I just write thoughts directly to my thoughts file while watching the film, or pause to check some historical information.

If learning is about learning [the gist of] ideas, not content, then the speed of the transmission of ideas should be maximized. But when does one have enough experience to create or understand an idea? That is up to the person. People should experience life as is, only opting to verbalize at their own pace, at their own interest. That is life. Forget the books. Verbalizing everything would requires several lifetimes.

A curriculum should focus on giving experience which would lead to certain ideas without ever using a language.

Films (videos and animations) can be clipped to convey an idea with an experience.

Real experience, however, is much more difficult to make into a curriculum, but could be quite fun to create using travel (including locally) and guided activities (including games).

Though, a preferred method is to verbalize (and perhaps read more) about what one experiences, mixing the two (thank goodness for Wikipedia!), I wonder about comparing walking through a chaotic city and reading several books from a library.

It is possible to walk through a chaotic city and think about nothing, or almost nothing (i.e. what to eat and drink). It’s also possible to think about everything, questioning every human action of every inhabitant and of the organization of all material. The information is infinite.

During the reading of several books, words invoke meaning which may invoke a memory or experience. It all depends on past experiences. The information is finite, and if one does not have enough experience, especially of social related things, things may not make sense. The information is finite.

It also depends on interest of what one reads. The mind hones in on what is interesting, also depending on past interests. Then again, the same process happens in reality. Unless one just allows the world to pass and consume everything that comes by. Still, it requires attention.

A great strength of written work is big history. Mapping time to events. But many other medias can convey this too, so it’s not limited to writing. So, it isn’t a comparison between reading and experiencing, rather, media and experience.

So, to update the question, let’s compare walking through a chaotic city with consuming media.

Cities are organized though, like media. People choose to go to some place based on physical organization.

Let’s update the question to walking through a city without intention and consuming media, also without intention. Which will grasp ideas faster?

Formal knowledge can be entirely learned through written language. Social knowledge (anything with humans) requires a lot of experience. Physical knowledge doesn’t require much experience. And that is the order of speeds that people can grasp ideas from media.

Hmm, when walking through a city, one could think about many things rarely written about, say, how neighborhoods seem to attract people with similar values, or what components make a good public space. Sure, there’s an urban planning book now about these things, but in the past there wasn’t. So there’s this problem of lack of awareness, knowledge (in case of books: words), and the loss of information from artist to medium. Compare an [good] old media to a new one. The new one is likely to be aware of a lot more things going on. In books, this comes in words. In film, it’s in complexity, realism comes to mind.

Rereading the first sentence: when walking through a city, one could think about many things never written about. This is how ideas are created.

Ugh, a bit tired for now, and still haven’t answered this question, and diverted slightly from the main topic, the speed of ideas.

I initially thought I could gauge the speeds of each medium (book, film, game, new media), and experience, attacking books again in favor of newer media.

Ah an attack! When I say reading, I was thinking of non-fiction, because I don’t read literature. I don’t read for experience, if it counts as such. The largest difference is between the length of a book and a film. Two hours or six hours, or more in my case (I’m a slow reader). This is why I always choose reality and film over literature. I have not read any literature since Harry Potter (which was a slog, forced by school, and read between playing video games). Only philosophical fiction and maybe fiction about philosophy are as far as I go from non-fiction.

With a film, I can pause, think (say, question the social reality of the film), continue, just as I do with a book. But it still goes far faster than a book, because all of descriptions are visually displayed. Same goes for comics.

So, films, just as reality, visually display infinite information, therefore offer infinitely more experience  — I remember being so focused on films, but could never a flip through book. But experience isn’t ideas, and the speed of ideas, the speed of transmitting ideas from medium to persons, perhaps cannot be gauged after all…

[adventure time ending, to be continued?]

Leave a comment | Categories: Communication, Epistemology, Media, Philosophy of Education

A Curriculum of Experience

14 August 2015

In the recent past, I read pretty widely, it was an experience itself — learning English again, learning about a history of knowledge (philosophy), traveling through books, comparing reality, arguing — not so much passive reading. Now that I’m a bit more focused, my readings have become focused too, chosen based on past experiences and interests, before I began reading.

Though it does seem quite useless, impractical, lacking good use of working memory, and surely doing this out of current poor habit, over-organizing because I’m not in an active city, space, or social area, I’ve found that in the past, during downtime or simultaneously with work I end up consuming what media I do have most conveniently available — my smartphone — and so having some interesting media, is sometimes worth the trouble.

After writing down a few books of interest, it seems the theme of my interest is experience. If one is not experiencing, perhaps in a situation where creating experience is difficult, or one is simply in a lazy mode, perhaps books about experience will make one want to experience again, or remind oneself of one’s past experiences. Contrarily, if one is experiencing, then the books can be read simultaneously, and actually learn something from a book.

Hahahaha jk, books suck. If you must, let it be a practical handbooks and Wikipedia articles.

Update 17/9/15

It seems that this post, like the organized things I’ve written, is ever evolving. It started with creating a library related to experience, but as I used Wikipedia to attach words to ideas I’ve previously thought of, I’ve created an endless library of things I’ll never read. Though paradoxical, again, like the organized things I’ve written post, it turns out to be seemingly useful. Useful in the organization of ideas, but, as I often previously fought against during more active times in life, organization of ideas is not useful, it only seems so. 1) There is no need. The ideas exist, and always have since their inception. Instead of using time reading Wikipedia to map ideas to words as I just did here, I could be having experiences, creating new ideas, affecting the world, being a part of society. 2) It is uncreative. I could be creating my own words, which is an experience itself. 3) The use of vocabulary is limited to academics, making it inaccessible to the public. 4) The use of vocabulary influences others to conform to it, leading to the creation of a singular language… It’s circular logic, and it wastes real social time. It’s passive learning. One doesn’t need to know the political term or history of autonomism to understand it; If one can imagine an autonomous society, for example, most towns in Japanese role-playing video games, it is enough. Furthermore, along with the mapping of words to ideas, a useless history of philosophy often comes about. Only the mapping is what was seemingly important, nothing else. One should spend no further time on it. A google search of the description of an idea and appending “Wikipedia” to it usually suffices. If not, make a word up for it.

Update 27/11/15

It seems much of readings have shifted from experience toward critical theory, probably first as a result of wanting to describe the world, then later from being lazy and not experiencing and over-organizing.

Update 23/12/15

The People, Place, and Space Reader may be the closest description of the world and mind to my mind. Just a look at Simmel’s “Metropolis and the Mental Life” harks my early philosophy, which I wrote after much city experience. Previously, I thought David Harvey came closest, and before that, more classical critical theorists, but a glance at Harvey’s books one quickly learns that he relies on past human geographers and critical theorists and quotes them a lot to build a philosophy of human geography, and a glance at classical critical theorists one gets lost in the critiques of everything, failing to synthesize it with the contemporaneous world, especially the modern city. Forget classic philosophy canons (epistemology [maybe even pragmatism!] and political philosophy); Forget written language (save these essays). In the search of talking to someone about somethings, I’ve been distracted and misled by philosophy, distracted during the search for subjects that I wanted to talk about, misled by people who use past philosophers to help them write in a kind of infinite regression, and to larger forms of writings, which are more frequently mentioned in Wikipedia and sometimes even more easier to download (problem with digitization of essays and journals?), as opposed to contemporary concise essays and journal articles. God damn it. What a waste of time. Perhaps reading one essay from this book per week is enough. So glad the weather is warm now.

Still, this is only a small portion of my mind; It’s merely only the passive side. It’s missing the entire creative, active portion: creating public spaces, new media political city art, tools for society, urban material ideas, and so on, for that political end of increasing the freedom for others. I’m happy that such a book exists, but such an academic organization is quite useless compared to an active social organization that continuously deals with society, and the things that come out of the process — the realization of ideas with the aforementioned political ends.

writings on reading

Why Did I Read?
The Kinds of Literature and the Extraction of Ideas

currently interested in

From my ebook playlist:

towards social change via geography:
Society in Time and Space: A Geographical Perspective on Change by Robert Dodgshon
– provides a good overview of the social change debate. The last chapter is the main social change reading, though, the history chapter looks fun too. Other chapters include how culture (and symbolization), built environment, and organization affect social change.

environmental social science:
1.***** The People, Place, and Space Reader
– see this recent thought which was a reaction to the discovery of this selection of essays, which notes the like-mindedness and importance of these essays to my mind
further recommended readings, though there are enough in the introductions to each section of the book
possibly affiliated programs, journals, and organizations
– possible further readings from a school department affiliated with the editors: student and faculty favorites of recommended readings by CUNY environmental psychology program, seems like a great selection, including things like Harvey’s The Condition of Postmodernism, Life a User’s Manual, “The Child in the City”, “The Power of Maps”, Illuminations by Walter Benjamin, and “Nature’s Metropolis”!
– Anthropology of Space and Place: Locating Culture by one of the editors of this book, is another collection

cultural theory readings:
2.*** culture and society: contemporary debates edited by Alexander and Seidman
– seems like a canonical set of essays on culture from sociology, anthropology, critical theorists, Frankfurt School, etc. Easy reads. Should be able to read completely as the essays are quite popular.

natural societies:

towards an ideal society using cases of real societies:
1. anarchism
– Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology by David Graeber
– contains possible contemporary political directions in a straightforward way
— leads to other books by Graeber
— synthesizes autonomous societies and anthropology
?. The Structure of World History: From Modes of Production to Modes of Exchange by Kojin Karatani
– whoa

1. existing autonomous societies / anarchist anthropology
– Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity and Meaningful Work and Play by James C. Scott
– The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia by James C. Scott
– Society Against the State: Essays in Political Anthropology by Pierre Clastres
– Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey
– not really autonomous, maybe even dependent, but super interesting

self-organization:
1. The Nature of Order series by Christopher Alexander
1. essays that involve “spontaneous order” by Michael Polanyi

classic anthropology cannon:
1. anthropology
– especially The Protestant Ethic, The Gift, and Debt
———————-

1. anything by Dewey

1. fun in critical theory
– especially The Society of the Spectacle

1. aesthetics in critical theory
– especially Walter Benjamin, Marshal McLuhan

1. core critical theory

1. critical theory list mostly influenced by my desire to understand cities and the world from my experience, most of which happened to capitalistic
?. Figures of Dissent by Terry Eagleton
– cannot find :(
1. Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction by Stephen Bronner
1. “Traditional and Critical Theory” from Critical Theory: Selected Essays by Max Horkheimer
2. “The Right to the City” by David Harvey (2008, Henri Lefebvre’s in in 1968)
3. The Life and Death of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs (1961)
4. the political portion of Habermas: A Very Short Introduction by James Finlayson
– the rest of his work is limited to spoken and written language
4. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere by Jurgen Habermas (1962)
5. Social Justice and the City by David Harvey (1973)
– almost requires Marx
5. State, Space, World: Selected Essays by Henri Lefebvre
6. Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism by David Harvey
7. Marx: A Very Short Introduction by Peter Singer
7. The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx by Alex Callinicos
8. The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
9. Place: A Short Introduction
10. How Nonviolent Struggle Works by Gene Sharp

practical handbooks

WARNING: stop, think, do, repeat.

activism:
– in what public spaces do people participate for this in Taiwan?
*. Cypherpunks by Julian Assange
1. How Nonviolent Struggle Works by Gene Sharp
– leads to The Politics of Nonviolent Action series by Gene Sharp
Swarmwise by Rick Falkvinge

design and technology:
– probably better to regular hackerspaces and workshops in the city
Make series by Charles Platt
Practical Electronics for Inventors by Paul Scherz
The Art of Electronics by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill
MIT Press’s Essential Knowledge series
– Wikipedia is probably better than this

values and ideals

WARNING: perhaps you’re just unable to do things. No, that’s paradoxical. How about comparing your values and ideals with Wikipedia, in hopes of practically doing things to achieve them?

Wikipedia articles:
values and ideals:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science,_technology_and_society

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_living
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_building
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_society
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_sphere
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_economy
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharing_economy

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociology_of_space
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_place
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_center
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Place
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_anarchist_communities

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_theory
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_studies

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_social_science

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_design
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_geography
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_geography

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_psychology
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatism
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holism
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_destruction#David_Harvey
—- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_innovation

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degrowth
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_and_consumer_science

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-organization
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spontaneous_order
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_progress

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomism

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_Interventionism
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_action

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fl%C3%A2neur

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outline_of_academic_disciplines#Philosophy
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanities

maybe:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society#Knowledge
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-democracy#Civil_society
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-Government#United_States

experience

WARNING: remind yourself not to read before reading.

experience:
1. Having an Experience [essay] by John Dewey, the philosopher-king of experience
– leads to pragmatism
2. Art as Experience by John Dewey
– can continue to aesthetics in critical theory
3. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by Hume
– can try other British empericists

urban experience (also urban semiotics):
0. these essays
– also The People, Place, and Space Reader, though probably impossible to find, table of contents is available online and seems amazing, covering many urban topics
1. Image and the City by Kevin Lynch
2. Walkable City by Jeff Speck
?. Baudelaire’s Media Aesthetics: The Gaze of the Flâneur and 19th-Century Media

urban experience and early marxist geography?:
1. Urban Experience (combines Consciousness and the Urban Experience, and The Urbanization of Capital) by David Harvey
– leads to marxist geography?

marxist geography (aka David Harvey):
-1. watch his lectures first!
0. “Right to the City” by David Harvey
1. Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism by David Harvey
– most recent overview, containing many old ideas
1. State, Space, World: Selected Essays by Henri Lefebvre
2. Social Justice and the City by David Harvey
Antipode journal
[The Condition of Post-Modernity is elsewhere]
[Limits to Capital and Companion to Marx’s Capital is elsewhere]

human geography:
1. Place: A Short Introduction
For Space by Doreen Massey

urban experience and urban planning:
1. The Life and Death of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
– leads to The Economy of Cities
?. The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces by William H. Whyte

fun

WARNING: okay, so you’re not feeling so practical. Perhaps you’re just unable to create an experience at the moment, out of creative energy, and just need media to push you to be more active. Well, for that, it’s better to just watch a film. Don’t you dare go further!

fun in critical theory

contemporary fun:
game philosophy and design:
0. Babycastles Zine Reading Lounge
1. Homo Ludens by Johan Huizinga
2. Rules of Play by Katie Sellen and Eric Zimmerman
Art of Game Design by Jessie Schell
MIT Press’s Playful Thinking series
– Play Matters by Miguel Sicart
MIT Press’s Game Histories series

magical realism fiction:
*. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
*. Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman
1. Collected Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borjes
1. The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino?

travel books:
current travel books, especially for the country I am in
Book of the Marvels of the World by Marco Polo
?/Italian Journey by Goethe
The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson

essays:
*. The Essays by Francis Bacon
1. The Complete Essays by Montaigne and translated by Donald A. Frame
2. Essays and Letters by Seneca
– leads to Montaigne
3. Essays by Emerson
4. The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell
?. The Nature of Order series by Christopher Alexander
?. Consequences Of Pragmatism: Essays 1972-1980 by Richard Rorty
– leads to Philosophy and Social Hope by Richard Rorty

formal system (to help express ideas within a formal system):
1. Euclid’s Elements (might as well learn some geometry too?)
2. Spinoza’s Ethics (just to glance at an application)

vocabulary / glossaries:
Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society by Raymond Williams
A Glossary of Cultural Theory by Peter Brooker
– saw at NTU’s library, seems like a great way to gain ideas through words which should help express ideas in a human language
– mentions influence of Keywords in the beginning

games and math:
On Numbers and Games by John Conway

design

WARNING: maybe you just traveled a bunch via scooter and have visions of utopia. Emblazon them onto a medium quickly! Etch out those crazy ideas. Don’t you dare compare your visions with other’s. You will lose the memory of it soon.

city history:
The City in History by Lewis Mumford

Design and Planning:
urban design (especially ideal designs):
1. A Pattern Language and Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander (read together)
– leads to SimCity 2000
2. Design with Nature – Ian McHarg
– “ecological design” that may go well with A Pattern Language
?/3. City as Landscape – Tom Turner
– “post-postmodern” design

urban design and public spaces:
1. Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space by Jan Gehl
– leads to many well-received books of his, culminating in Cities for People

“land ethic”:
A Sand Country Almanac by Aldo Leopold (referenced in A Pattern Language, listed under Columbia’s 2015 syllabus, and fits Taiwan’s ideology)
post-scarcity economy and other utopias

contemporary philosophy

WARNING: if the thought of reading one of these occurs, you must either be suffering from sensory deprivation, or, nearly completely lost all sensational experience and social connections from the real world.

Dialectic (the opposite of experience?):
1. The Great Conversation: The Substance Of A Liberal Education by Mortimer J. Adler
– leads to The Great Ideas: A Lexicon of Western Thought
2. Dialectic by Mortimer J. Adler
3. Dialogues by Plato
– particularly those involving Socrates
4. The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea by Arthur O. Lovejoy

power:
*. Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky
– alternative: The Essential Chomsky

philosophy of mind / cognition / cognitive science:
1. Thinking Fast and Slow by Kahneman
Metaphors We Live By George Lakoff and Mark Johnson

media theory:
aesthetics in critical theory

contemporary anthropology:
*. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
1. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology by David Graeber
– leads to Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire
– leads to Revolutions in Reverse: Essays on Politics, Violence, Art, and Imagination
– leads to Debt
– leads to important things to think about related to anarchism
4. Debt: The First 5000 Years by David Graeber
5. The Western Illusion of Human Nature by Marshall Sahlins
6. The Structure of World History: From Modes of Production to Modes of Exchange by Kojin Karatani
?. Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti

classic anthropology:
1. The Gift by Marcel Mauss
– leads to Debt
1. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber
– part of Columbia Curriculum
2. The Interpretation Of Cultures by Geertz
3. Tristes Tropiques by Claude Levi-Strauss
Homo Ludens by Johan Huizinga
– also listed under game philosophy
The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond

“political economy”, “comparative politics”:
x. classic ecnomists (Smith, Malthus, Mill, etc.)
– eh
?. Montesquieu
1. Tocqueville
2. Marx

contemporary sociology:
Sociology: A Very Short Introduction by Steve Bruce
Central Problems in Social Theory by Anthony Giddens

critique of technology:
The Technological Society by Jacques Ellul
Technics and Civilization by Lewis Mumford

critical theory

:
introductions:
1. A Very Short Introduction to Critical Theory
Introducing Critical Theory
2. Culture and Materialism by Raymond Williams
– intro to Verso Books Radical Thinkers series
Critical Theory Today by Lois Tyson
Left Hemisphere: Mapping Contemporary Theory by Verso Books
*. ideas of Marx, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, Lacan, and more?

Marxism:
s/1. Marx: A Very Short Introduction by Peter Singer
– skipped
s/1. Engels: A Very Short Introduction by Tarrell Carver
– skipped
s/2. The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx by Alex Callinicos
– skipped
3. Marx-Engels Reader
– use this beginner list from the Marxists Internet Archive for ordered and selected readings, and furthermore a selection from the people who created that website
— started here with the beginner list
4. Capital, Volume 1 by Karl Marx
– can read with A Companion to Marx’s Capital by David Harvey
– leads to Marxist autonomism
– leads to The Limits to Capital by David Harvey
– leads to Deciphering Capital: Marx’s Capital and Its Destiny by Alex Callinicos
– required for most of critical theory
5. Deciphering Capital: Marx’s Capital and Its Destiny by Alex Callinicos
– includes David Harvey and other contemporaries
6. The Limits to Capital by David Harvey
?. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy by Joseph Schumpeter
– “creative destruction”
?. Prison Notebooks by Antonio Gramsci
?. History and Class Consciousness by Lukacs

core critical theory:
*. an interview with Rick Roderick
*. The Self Under Siege: Philosophy In The Twentieth Century by Rick Roderick (also available through The Great Courses)
1. Critical Theory: Selected Essays by Max Horkheimer
– especially “Traditional and Critical Theory”
2. Habermas: A Very Short Introduction by James Finlayson
3. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere by Jurgen Habermas
4?. Eclipse of Reason by Max Horkheimer
– leads to Dialectic of Enlightenment, but maybe not needed
4. Dialectic of Enlightenment by Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer
– leads to Habermas
5. Critique of Instrumental Reason: Lectures and Essays Since the End of World War II (Verso Books Radical Thinkers) by Max Horkheimer
– more simple material
5. One-Dimensional Man by Herbert Marcuse
6. The Culture Industry [essays] by Theodore Adorno
– maybe should read Tocqueville: A Very Short Introduction first
?. Minima Moralia by Theodore Adorno
New Left Review journal
?. On the Logic of the Social Sciences by Jurgen Habermas
?. MIT Press’s Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought series
– seems to continue elaborating around Habermas’s subjects: some combination of critical theory, pragmatism, communication, and public life

Responses to Dialectic of Enlightenment, One-Dimensional Man, instrumental rationality and whatever that opposes it (nature? individual self-organization?):
Rick Roderick’s’ lectures on Marcuse and Habermas
Alan Watts: The Discipline of Zen
Alan Watts: Buddhism and Science

Freudo-Marxism in critical theory:
1. The Art of Being by Erich Fromm
– out of interest, and out of order
2. Escape from Freedom by Erich Fromm
3. Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud by Herbert Marcuse
4. The Sane Society by Erich Fromm

Post-Marxism and contemporary critical theorists:
it includes Althusser, David Harvey, Slavoj Zizek, Jameson, Derrida, Baudrillard, Badiou, Hardt and Negri, some of whom are elsewhere on this page, and if it is too large thrown under contemporary totalities, also the wiki for Post-Marxism for a longer list of Post-Marxists
Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses by Louis Althusser
– leads to Sublime Object of Ideology, though the idea of ideology is probably enough
1. The Sublime Object of Ideology Slavoj Zizek
– leads to Parallax View by Slavoj Zizek
– which then leads to MIT Press’s Short Circuits series
1. “Culture” by Fredric Jameson

fun in critical theory:
1. The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord
x/2. Critique of Everyday Life by Henri Lefebvre
– 900 pages, no thanks
3. Revolution of Everyday Life by Raoul Vaneigem

aesthetics in critical theory:
1. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin
– leads to Understanding Media by Herbert Marshall McLuhan
– which in turn leads to The System of Objects, The Ecstasy of Communication, Simulations by Jean Baudrillard
2. Aesthetics and Politics (Verso Books Radical Thinkers series) by people from the The Frankfurt School
3. Walter Benjamin’s Archive: Images, Texts, Signs (Verso Books) by Walter Benjamin
4. Aesthetic Theory by Theodor Adorno

other critical things:
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
– part of the Columbia Curriculum
Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Friere
Dialogues by Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet

philosophy of social science:
?. On the Logic of the Social Sciences by Jurgen Habermas
?. The New Science by Giambattista Vico
– the following three are from Googling the above two books:
?. Prospects for a Theory of Radical History chapter of Interpretation Radical but Not Unruly by Joseph Margolis
?. Interpretive Social Science: A Second Look by Paul Rabinow
?. Surviving the Twentieth Century: Social Philosophy from the Frankfurt School to the Columbia Faculty Seminars by Judith Marcus
?. [Rorty fits here too]

————- (end of critical theory)

selected contemporary political philosophy

:

post-politics:
an anti-state communism curriculum
Semiotext(e) / Interventions series

anarchism:
1. AK Press Working Classics series
2. Reddit’s anarchy101 canon
3. a goodreads list
– On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky
– Anarchism by Emma Goldman
– Direct Action: An Ethnography by David Graeber
?. Wikipedia list of books about anarchism
– What is Property? by Proudhon
– Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
– The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy
– etc.

autonomism:
1. Autonomia: Post-Political Politics by Sylvère Lotringer
Empire by Negri and Hardt
– leads to two more books in the series
1. The Soul at Work: From Alienation to Autonomy by Franco Bifo Berardi
– seems especially interesting

anarchist anthropology and cases of autonomous societies, especially in Asia-Pacific:
1. The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia by James C. Scott
– also Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance
– also Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts
– also Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity and Meaningful Work and Play
1. Society Against the State: Essays in Political Anthropology by Pierre Clastres
2. Chronicle of the Guayaki Indians by Pierre Clastres

self-organization (the philosophy of organization?):
1. The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander
– leads to A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander
– leads to The Nature of Order series by Christopher Alexander
1. essays that involve “spontaneous order” by Michael Polanyi

post-scarcity economy and other utopias

:
1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degrowth
2. The Ascent of Humanity by Charles Eisenstein
– leads to Sacred Economics, lived in Taiwan
3. The Zeitgeist Movement Defined: Realizing a New Train of Thought
4. The Best That Money Can’t Buy: Beyond Politics, Poverty & War
Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein

contemporary totalities

WARNING: for use in prison only
philosophy:
0. The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt
– looks great, but can probably skip to Harvey
1. The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change by David Harvey
2. Architecture as Metaphor by Kojin Karatini
3. Parallax View by Slavoj Zizek
4. Transcritique: On Kant and Marx by Kojin Karatini

special:
The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro

classic philosophy

WARNING: aside from Hume, Kant, Dewey, and maybe an intro to Roy Bhasker, these may be useless

classic (and some contemporary):
history of philosophy:
*The Great Ideas of Philosophy by Daniel N. Robinson a la The Great Courses
A Little History of Philosophy by Nigel Warburton
*A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
*A New History of Western Philosophy by Anthony Kenny
A Short History of Chinese Philosophy by Feng YouLan
– use as a guide to his larger History of Chinese Philosophy

general:
Philosophy: The Classics published by Nigel Warburton (Routledge)
– good to skim over ideas from classics and choose the pertinent ones

epistemology:
The epistemological readings from Contemporary Civilization class syllabus (a part of Columbia’s Core Curriculum) and the epistemology section of reddit’s philosophy reading list
*. The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
– introduction up to analytic epistomology
– from Descartes to Hume, possibly stopping before Kant, and ignoring analytic logic, especially Scottish Enlightenment (Reid and Hume)
– leads to pragmatism
a possible source: MIT Press’s Readers in Contemporary Philosophy

materialism:
1. On the Nature of Things by Lucretius

rationalism, [British] empiricism, direct realism, and Kant:
*. Discourse on the Method and Meditations on the First Philosophy by Descartes [rationalism]
?. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by Locke [empiricism]
?. Berkeley [empiricism]
1. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume empiricism]
– maybe need to read Locke’s essay first, but try this first anyway
?. Inquiry into the Human Mind by Thomas Reid [direct realism]
2. The Critique of Pure Reason by Kant
– the Wikipedia article seems to suffice: the historical bits, Transcendental Aesthetic, and Transcendental Analytic
?. Mill

pragmatism:
1. Having an Experience [essay] by John Dewey
– leads to Experience and Nature, Art as Experience, Experience and Education, Democracy and Education (though, these are super obvious ideas)
– personal choice
2. Art as Experience by John Dewey
– personal choice
3. “How to Make Our Ideas Clear” by Charles Pierce
– foundation of canon, maybe from some essay collection
4. Pragmatism by William James
– concise lecture on the main concept
5. this excellent Wikipedia article on Instrumentalism contains Dewey and Popper debate
6. Pragmatism: An Introduction by Michael Bacon
– surveys pragmatism and the future of it (neo-pragmatism, etc.)
– can’t find
6. American Philosophy before Pragmatism by Russell B. Goodman
– possible alternative?
?. The Social Psychology of George Herbert Mead edited by Anselm Strauss
?. Mind, Self, and Society by George Herbert Mead
?. Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness
– precursor to process philosophy
?. An Introduction to Metaphysics by Henri Bergson
?. Matter and Memory by Henri Bergson
– Bergson’s best, doubles as film theory

neo-pragmatism:
1. Consequences Of Pragmatism: Essays 1972-1980 by Richard Rorty
– leads to Philosophy and Social Hope (essays) by Richard Rorty

critical realism:
1. Critical Realism: An Introduction to Roy Bhaskar’s Philosophy by Andrew Collier
2. Structure, Agency and the Internal Conversation by Margaret Scotford Archer
– could not find

knowledge:
1. Meaning by Michael Polanyi
2. Personal Knowledge by Michael Polanyi
3. Tacit Dimension by Michael Polanyi

political philosophy:
The political readings from Contemporary Civilization class syllabus (a part of Columbia’s Core Curriculum) and the political section of reddit’s philosophy reading list
– from Plato to Nozick, especially those related to idealism, anarchism, and autonomy for the development of an autonomous state. Or simply skip to contemporary political philosophy. Or just skip to Marx, [because] the rest of this is ideal bullshit. Or skip entirely and rely on personal experience.
*. Marx and Engels
1. Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? by Michael Sandel
– covers most of things things below, except Habermas
1. The Modern Political Tradition: Hobbes to Habermas by Lawrence Cahoone a la The Great Courses
– covers all and beyond Habermas
2. political theory sections of Habermas: A Very Short Introduction by James Finlayson
?. The Republic by Plato
?. Politics by Aristotle
?. Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
– only read summary of ideas
?. the second treatise of Two Treatises of Government by John Locke
– for property and slavery related things
?. Discourse on Inequality and The Social Contract by Rousseau
?. On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
*. “Answering the Question: What Is Enlightenment?” by Kant
*. “Perpetual Peace” by Kant
?. Theory of Justice by John Rawls
– use Wikipedia instead. “Justice as Fairness” is listed under recommended readings in the Columbia Curriculum
?. Anarchy, State, and Utopia by Robert Nozick

moral philosophy (aka [normative] ethics):
– from Aristotle to Scanlon, especially Kant’s idealism for public space ethics. May be better to ignore it all and rely on my own ideals.
*. Philosophy and Human Values lecture by Rick Roderick (also available through The Great Courses)
1. Quest for Meaning: Values, Ethics, and the Modern Experience by Robert H. Kane a la The Great Courses
– covers most, not including Habermas
1. “discourse ethics” section of Habermas: A Very Short Introduction by James Finlayson
2. Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
3. Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals by Kant

Philosophy of Life, Existentialism, etc.:
– “Inspired by the critique of rationalism in the works of Arthur Schopenhauer, Søren Kierkegaard, and Friedrich Nietzsche, it emerged in 19th-century Germany as a reaction to the rise of positivism and the theoretical focus prominent in much of post-Kantian philosophy”
– Probably should avoid and stick to pragmatism.
x. Friedrich Nietzsche
– On the Genealogy of Morals, 200 pages, includes ascetism, but seems very simple
x. Arthur Schopenhauer
– The World as Will and Representation is huge, only read Wikipedia article or some kind of summary of ideas
x. Søren Kierkegaard
– The World as Will and Representation is huge, only read Wikipedia article or some kind of summary of ideas
?. Henri Bergson
?. The Philosophy of Life and Death: Ludwig Klages and the Rise of a Nazi Biopolitics by Nitzan Lebovic
1. Simmel on Culture: Selected Writings by George Simmel
– “Simmel was a precursor of urban sociology, symbolic interactionism and social network analysis.”
?. Wilhelm Dilthey

resources for general contemporary Left politics:
a very good goodreads list

resources for urban planning:
www.goodreads.com/list/show/16343.Top_Urban_Planning_books_Of_All_time
www.goodreads.com/list/show/18438.Must_Read_Architecture_Books#30833

resources for critical theory:
1. a goodreads list
– great list, unorganized

reddit reading list for critical theory
– great list to go along Wikipedia article

The Verso Undergraduate Reading List
goodreads list

list of radical left publications
Verso Books Radical Thinkers series

Critical Theory for beginners reading list
– Very Short Introduction series by Oxford University Press
– Routledge Critical Thinkers series
Introducing… series
– Left Hemisphere: Mapping Contemporary Theory by Verso Books

The School of Life
– youtube videos
– book of life

5 critical theory lecture series blog post
– EGS youtube including Manuel De Landa, Wes Cecil, Paul Fry, Rick Roderick, David Harvey

MIT book series

goodreads list to frame thinking

1000 little hammers, contains some ebooks on critical theory, especially Situationist International

resources for art and aesthetics:
www.goodreads.com/list/show/98305.Contemporary_Art#184042

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